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Wait, How Much Trouble Would Gabi Be In for Kidnapping Sir? An Expert Weighs In
On Found, Gabi Mosely was a kidnapping victim herself before she turned the tables on Sir, her former captor, but would their complicated past help her in the court room?
But what would really happen if someone learned she had kidnapped Sir?
NBC Insider spoke with Abbe Smith, a law professor at Georgetown University, to find out just what kind of trouble Gabi would be in if she was ever caught.
And let’s just say it wouldn’t look good for Gabi.
“The short answer is she’s committing a criminal offense and she would be liable to whatever sanctions are available,” Smith said.
What kind of punishment could Gabi face for kidnapping Sir?
Smith runs a postgraduate fellowship program in criminal defense and clinical teaching, as well as a criminal defense clinic and, as a result, has spent a lot of time in the courtroom.
Gabi’s circumstances are admittedly unique. She spent more than a year being held captive by Sir as a teenager in a remote Virginia cabin and has devoted her life as an adult to finding other missing people. But that still wouldn’t give her a free pass to break the law and Gabi’s crime wouldn’t fit into the realm of self-defense.
“You don’t get an eye for an eye,” Smith said. “That’s not a thing in the criminal law.”
As the victim of a “hideous” crime, it could make her actions more understandable — but that may not factor into her guilt or innocence.
“You could understand the need for revenge, but like I said, it doesn’t make her culpability any less for the purposes of guilt,” Smith explained.
Is there a defense for Gabi Mosely’s actions?
That doesn’t mean, however, that if Smith was representing her, she wouldn’t try to put on a good defense. Smith theorized she might try to employ a similar defense to what Unabomber Ted Kaczynski tried to do by arguing that sending letter bombs in the mail was the lesser of two evils compared to the rise of technology and industry he so feared.
“You could try to put forward a defense that kidnapping [Sir] was the lesser evil of him being out there to do what he did to others and no doubt he would, because that’s generally not one-off behavior,” Smith said. “But I think in real life, courts would be reluctant to allow me to put on that kind of evidence at trial.”
What sentence could Gabi Mosely face for kidnapping Sir?
Where Gabi could find some mercy, however, is during the sentencing phase. According to Smith, judges often have the “most discretion” during the sentencing phase of a trial and that could mean Gabi could end up receiving probation instead of jail time.
“I can imagine a judge saying there’s no need for any incarceration,” she said.
It would depend on whether the state or federal laws being applied had minimum sentencing guidelines in place for kidnapping, but Smith said kidnapping is “generally not a mandatory minimum crime.”
“I can imagine a judge saying, ‘Turnaround is fair play. I don’t think this woman poses a danger to society anymore. I think she posed a danger to this particular person but to nobody else,’ and judges have a lot of leeway in sentencing,” she added.
She cautioned, however, that historically, women who’ve taken matters into their own hands have had “mixed results” in the courtroom.
For example, Cyntoia Brown was originally sentenced to life in prison after she killed her rapist at the age of 16. But after 15 years behind bars, then-Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam granted her clemency and she was released on probation in 2019, according to CNN Wire.
Smith said “sexism” can also factor into the public’s perception of a crime.
“Women who engage in serious felony crime often face a kind of double burden. There’s the law and then there’s the notions of what femininity is and how frightened people are of women who kind of depart from gender stereotypes,” she said.
As for Gabi, she was able to avoid detection this time even though a reported sighting of Sir had cops circling around her door in Episode 8. The sighting ultimately wasn’t credible and authorities were called off before they found the surprise waiting in her basement — but she may not be so lucky next time around.
If she is caught, hopefully she’d find an attorney like Smith to represent her.
“I would be happy to represent her,” Smith joked of the fictional character. “I would put on an excellent sentencing hearing.”
To find out what will happen next, tune in to Found Tuesdays at 10/9c on NBC or available streaming the next day on Peacock.